The Main Differences Between Keurig K-Compact, K-Classic, & K-Select Models (K35, K50/K55, & K85)

By | November 17, 2019

Keurig has been around for a while and they have a deep inventory of archived units that are not sold or marketed any longer by Keurig. These models can however still be found in the marketplace depending on the seller you go to.

Today we are going to looking closely at three of Keurig’s newest brewers and compare them against each other while also comparing them a bit to their predecessors.

Let’s start with a summary of the three machines and then we’ll get into the extreme details and history of their previous versions within the older K-series of brewers.

Firstly, What’s The Same Between Them All?

  • Obviously they all brew k-cups.
  • They all have external reservoirs of different sizes.
  • They all have internal reservoirs that keep water hot for a while between brews.
  • They all look similar with only slight differences in style and form.
  • They are all designed for the basic shopper looking for value in a “regular” k-cup machine.

Basically these three machines are all very similar. They are cut from the same cloth so-to-speak and each unit adds a couple extra features to the last one along with a reasonable increase in price.

Let’s look at what really matters; what sets them apart.

The most basic model of the three is the K-Compact, which despite it’s name is far more similar to the K-Classic than it is to the K-Mini.

The K-Compact has the smallest removable reservoir. The box says it’s 36-ounces but from my testing it’s actually a bit bigger than that.

The K-Classic has a reservoir that is sized at 48-ounces according to the box but in the real world is a bit bigger than that also.

Lastly the K-Select has a reservoir that is only slightly larger than the K-Classic. The sticker says 52-ounces but it is also rounding down.

If reservoir size is a big deal to you then the K-Select is only slightly bigger and not worth the extra price for only four extra ounces of reservoir size.

What does matter a lot to me as a user of these devices though is the location of the reservoir.

Both the K-Select and the K-Classic place the removable tank to the left of the unit whereas the K-Compact puts it to the rear. This is to keep the width of the K-Compact down but the width is only 1.5-inches less, hardly noticeable in my kitchen while the reservoir has to be refilled much more often… and not only does it have to be refilled more often but it’s a lot more annoying to do so with it placed in the rear.

To refill it you have to slide the whole machine away from the wall on your counter to remove and replace it. I know, it sounds like a nit-picky inconvenience but I swear it is annoyingly noticeable after you use this unit for a few weeks.

The K-Compact is also a unit that can only be purchased at Walmart and Walmart.com by the way. If you have an aversion to Walmart then take that into consideration but this is a very entry level machine so the price is about as low as Keurig’s are ever sold for.

The other feature differences:

The K-Compact doesn’t have an auto-off manual selection. It will keep things hot internally until it decides to stop doing so. The K-Classic and the K-Select will allow you to press a button to keep the internal tank warm/hot until you turn the machine off all the way.

The Compact & Classic machines only gives you the option of brewing 6, 8, or 10 ounce size cups of coffee whereas the Select model gives you four options, 6, 8, 10, and 12-ounce mug sizes.

If you want a Strong button, which I value a lot, you can also only get that on the K-Select. It’s also the only one to offer a high-altitude brew setting and an included water filter attachment.

To summarize, the K-Compact will brew coffee in either 6, 8, or 10 ounce sizes and you will refill the rear mounted water tank more frequently.

For a few dollars more the water tank gets bigger meaning you won’t have to refill it as often and you will be able to refill it easier.

Then, for a few dollars more than that you can buy the K-Select which has a slightly larger water tank that you probably won’t be able to notice. What you will notice however is the extra 12-ounce cup selection, the included water filter, and the strong brew option. High altitude people will enjoy that extra “nearly hidden” feature.

For me it’s clear that I like the K-Select the best due primarily to the added “strong brew” feature. I’m always willing to wait an extra 30-seconds to get a better cup of coffee. The extra cost to me is justified and worth it.

The Other Related Machines

Some people are justifiably confused when they see the K-Comapct and think it’s a direct alternative to the K-Mini. In actuality the two devices are quite different.

You can see this comparison of the K-Compact and the K-Mini to learn more.

Likewise the K-Elite is similar to the K-Classic but it is pricey because it includes a number of extra features that only a small percentage of consumers will even care about.

The K-Select is really the best machine for the majority of people… unless you really care about one of the extra features that aren’t exactly mainstream.

You can see this comparison between the K-Elite and the K-Select here for more details.

How Do These Machines Compare to Older K-Series Models?

The oldest Keurig brewers were labeled B-Series brewers as in the Keurig B50. These B-Series brewers gained popularity in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

By 2012 most Keurig systems that were sold new in both physical stores and with online retailers had switched over to Keurig’s new K-series branding.

Basically every brewer that had been labeled “B” was now labeled “K” with no other notable changes.

The K60/K65 for instance first started selling on Amazon in the Summer of 2012.

By late 2014 Keurig released their first “2.0” brewer and by the following year the Keurig K250 was released. The 2.0 system however died a slow death over the next three years with the K250 being the last 2.0-style brewer the company made.

In late 2018 the entire K-series of 2.0 brewers, including the K250, had been fully discontinued due to customer backlash and poor sales.

At this point only K-series 1.0-style brewers were being marketed and sold by Keurig, but this was to be short lived.

In 2019 the Keurig ecosystem of products started going through yet another branding overhaul.

Throughout the year the K-series machines that customers had come to know well started being replaced by basic model names on store shelves. Each new machine largely corresponded to one of the best sellers from the older K-Series product line with some small exceptions of course.

And that is what brings us to today’s article.

What is the difference between the current K-Compact, K-Classic, and K-Select keurig machines and how do they compare to the older K-series machines.

The modern K-Select machine is very similar to the very popular and best selling K70/K75 with small functional differences. The K70/K75 would brew 4-ounce cup sizes but the K-select will only brew as low as 6-ounces.

Also, the new K-Select looks a tad different to the K70/K75 and was designed with a smaller water reservoir. The older machines had temperature control settings and no brew strength setting but now the K-Select has the brew strength button but no temp setting.

Lastly the older machines were made with a little LCD panel which is no longer part of the design. Basically the K70 or K75 was the near premium model in the non-commercial Keurig line of machines. These days that title belongs to the K-Select.

If you want to save a bit of money and are ok losing a few of the small upgrades to make the K-Select appealing then opting for the K-Classic, a retake on the older K50/K55, will save you noticeably at the cash register but you will lose the 12-ounce brew size setting, the strong brew option, and about 4-ounces in reservoir size.

To further confuse customers and salespeople alike the under-side of the most current Keurig machines are still stamped with the older K-series numbering system. The K-Compact is stamped K35, the K-Classic is stamped with a K50 or K55, and the K-Select is stamped with a K85!